Narrative Transport. The official Michael Pryor website.
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  • April28th

    Nansi Kunze

    I think I must have been ten when I began to read Rosemary Sutcliff’s books. It was a strange time for me – a confusing and somewhat lonely one. My parents had split up, and we had gone back to England, leaving my friends, my school and the various treasures a ten-year-old deems precious behind in Australia. Read More | Comments

  • April19th

    Pamela Freeman

    When I looked back on my childhood for the purposes of this post, I realised that the single most influential book I read was The Adventures of Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter. Read More | Comments

  • March29th

    Gabrielle Williams

    Kate Bush made ‘Wuthering Heights’ required reading for every teenager worth her salt back in my day (it occurs to me that if I could get Kimbra and Goyte to write a song called ‘Beatle Meets Destiny’ or ‘The Reluctant Hallelujah’ – it’d up my sales hugely. Note to self: call their agents).

    I loved ‘Wuthering Heights’ and felt very grown-up reading it but think it was probably a bit too sophisticated for me back in those days. I couldn’t understand why everyone was so bad-tempered all the time, and it seemed to me that if there was a lot less hand-wringing, and a lot more slow-mo cartwheels and hair-flinging (a la Kate Bush ) everyone would be infinitely happier. Plus, I remember feeling ripped off that nowhere in the book does Cathy wail ‘Heathcliff, it’s me, it’s Cathy, I’ve come home, and I’m so co-o-o-old, let me in-a your window-o-o-o.’ It was a bit like discovering Humphrey Bogart never said, ‘Play it again Sam,’ and Clarke Gable never said, ‘Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn’. Just didn’t seem right. Read More | Comments

  • March22nd

    Gabrielle Wang

    In a corner of a grade six classroom at Rathdowne Street State School in Carlton, two books sat all alone. The year was 1936. One was Undine by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué. The other was Green Mansions by William Henry Hudson. Read More | Comments

  • March15th

    Simmone Howell

    When I think about books and my childhood, I see the cane bedside table on which all wonderful things were held: a portable radio, then later, a walkman, a jar of jelly crystals (for eating) and books. I was obsessed with memorising text from an early age and used to go to bed with Banjo Patterson’s ‘The Man from Snowy River’. I also remember trying to read the bible from cover to cover (it was a Good News Bible – I can see it now, the perky yellow text on the faded brown cover.) I also loved dogs. Daschounds and Basenjis in particular, and I had a picture book about dogs that I kept open on a certain page as if I could dream the dog into existence and have him sleeping at the foot of my bed by morning. I remember Joan Aiken’s The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, and Roadl Dahl’s Danny the Champion of the World.

    But the book that I remember most is The Hobbit. We borrowed the audiocassettes from the Ringwood library and I’m not sure that we ever returned them. I can still hear Nicoll Williamson’s sonorous voice. Maybe it was because, like Bilbo Baggins, I had hairy toes. Or maybe it was because I liked underground houses, or maybe it was just the idea of Gandalf scratching a mark on a door and changing a person forever but the Hobbit remains for me the defining book of my childhood. I loved to pore over the maps and illustrations and imagine myself in Tolkien’s world. I dreamed about Rivendell. And for a while everything was kingdoms and adventure and it didn’t matter if you were a boy or a girl … I don’t know what happened to me though, because after the Hobbit, I just started reading Judy Blume and then Sweet Valley High books and then quite terrible airport novels by authors with outlandish names like June Flaum Singer.

    Simmone’s latest book is Everything Beautiful (Pan Macmillan 2008). For more, try Simmone’s website or Tumblr. She also Twitters at @postteen.

  • March1st

    Sherryl Clark

    Like many people, a book that I remember clearly was one of the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis – The Magician’s Nephew. It was the first book I ever owned, as it was a present from my older sister. It was a while later before I discovered there was more than one book in the series, and could borrow them from the public library.

    But there were others that have stayed with me – in particular, Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome. Again, I borrowed these from the library in town, as we had little money to spend on books back then. I think the books I loved most were adventure stories of some kind – even Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Secret Seven were on my list of favourites.

    But it’s not actually a book that had perhaps the greatest influence on me – it was a writer, Malcolm Saville. The one title I remember reading was Not Scarlet But Gold (one in an adventure series again), and Saville was the only author I was ever brave enough to write to. A couple of months later, a letter arrived for me, all the way from England. He’d written back! I wish I still had the letter but I’ve never forgotten how he took the time to send me something personal, not photocopied or printed from a file for the hundredth time.

    Sherryl’s most recent book is ‘Dying to Tell Me’ – published in the USA by KaneMiller, September 2011. For more, visit Sherryl’s website and blog.

  • February23rd

    Ben Chandler

    I grew up in a smallish town in the northeast of the USA that exists, more or less, in a forest. It’s the sort of place riddled with big red barns and three-hundred-year-old farmhouses. It had, and I’ve no reason to believe this has changed, an ancient, still-working apple cider mill and a field where everyone gathered for fairs, the sort where the fruit is dressed up in caramel. New England. Connecticut. Think Salem, and you’re on the right track. I lived partly in this place, but I mostly inhabited what my imagination made of it, a semi-formed dreamscape where the real and the not-so-real were indistinguishable to me. Overactive imagination, my mother called it, but I simply believed. Monsters. Ghosts. Every story my older brother told me. The hook-handed madman escapee. The demonic clown. The girl in the mirror. All of it real.

    Drip. Drip. Drip.

    Read More | Comments

  • February16th

    Fiona Wood

    My book is Five Children and It by E. Nesbit, published in 1902. It’s a novel of ‘careful what you wish for’ episodes featuring a family of children – Anthea, Jane, Robert and Cyril and their baby brother, the Lamb (Hilary) – who find a Psammead, an ancient, wish-granting Sand-fairy. There are two further titles with the same characters, The Story of the Amulet, and The Phoenix and the Carpet. Read More | Comments

  • February9th

    Michael Gerard Bauer

    The book I remember most fondly from my childhood would have to be Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows.

    I’m not sure how old I was when I first read it, but I must have been quite young because I remember it as being my first ‘big’ book and I also recall feeling a sense of accomplishment, as well as a little amazement, the first time that I managed to make it all the way through to the end. It probably remains the only book from my childhood that I’ve re-read a number of times over the years.

    One of the things that made WITW so memorable for me was that it was my first real experience of reading a story that drew me completely in to another world – the world of the woodlands and the riverbank. Right from the start, I really wanted to be there with Ratty and Moley ‘messing about in boats’ and in a way of course, I was. Whenever I reached the end of the story and turned that last page, the magical world of WITW was one that I always regretted having to leave. Read More | Comments

  • February2nd

    Foz Meadows

    Foz made a splash debut in 2010 with ‘Solace and Grief’, and followed it in 2011 with ‘The Key to Starveldt’, both powerful and moving horror/paranormal tales.

    From the moment my grandmother gave me the first book as a ninth birthday present, I was hooked on the Redwall series by Brian Jacques, which follows the exploits of various mice, squirrels, otters, moles, shrews, badgers, hares and other woodland creatures attached either to Redwall Abbey or the mountain of Salamandastron. Though aimed at a middle-grade audience, I loved the books so fiercely that I continued to read and re-read them right through to university, so that for nine whole years, they defined and dominated my reading habits. Read More | Comments